Player – Marvin Plattenhardt
Caps: 6 Goals: 0
The Hertha Berlin defender is making his first appearance at a World Cup for Germany after having been part of their Confederations Cup-winning squad. Marvin has played for FC Nurnberg and Hertha in the Bundesliga where he has made 108 appearances scoring 5 goals, all from free kicks. His ability with his left foot also extends to crossing. He can provide pinpoint crosses to forwards like Davie Selke and Matthew Leckie.
Chance of game time: As one of two Left-Backs in the Germany squad, the fight for the spot is between Marvin Plattenhardt and Jonas Hector. With Hector having been relegated with FC Koln during the club season and Plattenhardt’s prowess from free kicks, Marvin could get the nod.
Why we’re following them: As one of the few lesser known talents in the Germany squad, Plattenhardt could use this tournament to make a name for himself and secure a transfer to a bigger club in the Bundesliga or elsewhere in Europe. He has recently been linked with Everton.
This video highlights Plattenhardt’s ability to deliver goals and assists from his free kicks.
Player – Javier Aquino
Caps: 49 Goals: 0
Aquino is a winger who can easily play on both flanks. He is a vastly experienced international holding almost 50 caps and has been in the squads for the 2012 Olympics, winning the gold medal, as well as the 2014 World Cup and last year’s Confederation Cup. He also started in the recent friendly against Wales. Aquino currently plays for Tigres UANL having previously played for Rayo Vallecano, Villarreal and Cruz Azul. His return to his home country has been a successful one, with Tigres winning the Liga MX Apertura in 2015, 2016 and 2017 starting in both legs of the 2017 finals.
Chance of game time: Aquino can play on either side of the front three in Mexico’s 3-4-3 or 4-3-3 formations but faces competition from Jesus Corona and Hirving Lozano.
Why we’re following them: With European experience already under the bag, positive performances from Aquino could attract the interest of European clubs again, especially if he is able to score his first international goal.
This video highlights Aquino’s ability to cut inside from the wing and shoot as well as his crossing.
Player – Kim Shin-wook
Caps: 49 Goals: 10
Nicknamed ‘Chinook’ after the military helicopter due to his 6ft 6in height and aerial ability, Kim is the target man in South Korea’s attack. He is one of the top forwards in the K-League with Jeonbuk Hyundai where he won the 2017 K-League 1 title and they currently lead the table in the 2018 season. He has previously played for Ulsan Hyundai before moving in 2016. Kim has ample international experience holding 49 caps and having won the gold medal at the 2014 Asian games, earning exemption from military conscription. His international scoring record has greatly improved in the past few years scoring 3 goals in 2017 and 4 goals this year.
Chance of game time: Kim Shin-wook gives South Korea a very different attacking option to their other forwards Son Heung-Min and Hwang Hee-chan and hence could start or come off the bench to provide an aerial threat when required.
Why we’re following them: The Korean is a very different player to most of his teammates and could provide assists for his more prominent teammates such as Tottenham’s Son.
This video showcases Kim’s finishing ability both on the ground and in the air.
Player – Viktor Claesson
Position: Attacking midfielder
Caps: 21 Goals: 3
Claesson is a versatile player who plays as an Attacking Midfielder or on the left for his club, Krasnodar, and on the Right of the midfield for his country. He previously played for IFK Varnamo and IF Elfsborg before making the move to the World Cup hosts. This move has been a success for Viktor on a personal level, making 43 appearances and scoring 11 goals and helping Krasnodar in qualifying for the Europa League group stages. Claesson started in both games of the World Cup playoff round as Sweden beat Italy 1-0 on aggregate.
Chance of game time: Viktor will likely start on the right of midfield in Sweden’s 4-4-2 formation providing the ammunition for Marcus Berg and Ola Toivonen.
Why we’re following them: Following an impressive club season and with good performances at the World Cup, Claesson is likely to attract attention from clubs in bigger leagues than the Russian Premier.
This great goal from Claesson emphasizes his technical ability and ability to shoot from range.
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